Bet She'an

Bet She'an

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is a city in the North District
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

 of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 which has played an important role historically due to its geographical location at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and Jezreel Valley
Jezreel Valley
-Etymology:The Jezreel Valley takes its name from the ancient city of Jezreel which was located on a low hill overlooking the southern edge of the valley, though some scholars think that the name of the city originates from the name of the clan which founded it, and whose existence is mentioned in...

. It has also played an important role in modern times, acting as the regional center for the numerous villages in the Beit She'an Valley Regional Council.

History


Beit She'an's location has often been strategically significant, as it sits at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and the Jezreel Valley
Jezreel Valley
-Etymology:The Jezreel Valley takes its name from the ancient city of Jezreel which was located on a low hill overlooking the southern edge of the valley, though some scholars think that the name of the city originates from the name of the clan which founded it, and whose existence is mentioned in...

, essentially controlling access from the interior to the coast, as well as from Jerusalem to the Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

.

Early Beit She’an


In 1933, archaeologist G.M. FitzGerald, under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania Museum, carried out a “deep cut” on Tell el-Hosn, the large mound of Beth Shean in order to determine the earliest occupation of the site. His results suggest that settlement began in the Late Neolithic or Early Chalcolithic periods (sixth to fifth millennia BCE. Occupation continued intermittently up to the late Early Bronze Age I (3200-3000), according to pottery finds, and then resumes in the Early Bronze Age III. A large cemetery on the northern side of the mound was in use from the Bronze Age to Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 times. Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

ite graves dating from 2000-1600 BCE were discovered in 1926.

Egyptian period


After the Egyptian
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 conquest of Beit She’an by pharaoh Thutmose III
Thutmose III
Thutmose III was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. During the first twenty-two years of Thutmose's reign he was co-regent with his stepmother, Hatshepsut, who was named the pharaoh...

 in the 15th-century BCE (recorded in an inscription at Karnak
Karnak
The Karnak Temple Complex—usually called Karnak—comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings, notably the Great Temple of Amun and a massive structure begun by Pharaoh Ramses II . Sacred Lake is part of the site as well. It is located near Luxor, some...

), the small town on the summit of the Tell became the center of the Egyptian administration of the region. The Egyptian newcomers changed the organization of the town and left a great deal of material culture behind. A large Canaanite temple (39 meters in length) excavated by the University of Pennsylvania Museum may date from about the same period as Thutmose III’s conquest, though the Hebrew University excavations suggest that it dates to a later period. Artifacts of potential cultic significance were found in the temple. Based on a stele found in the temple and inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphs, the temple was dedicated to the god Mekal. One of the University Museum’s most important finds near the temple is the Lion and Dog stela (currently in the Israel Museum
Israel Museum
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem was founded in 1965 as Israel's national museum. It is situated on a hill in the Givat Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem, near the Bible Lands Museum, the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem....

 in Jerusalem), which depicts two combat scenes between these two creatures. The Hebrew University excavations determined that this temple was built on the site of an earlier one.

During the three hundred years of Egyptian rule (18th Dynasty to the 20th Dynasty), the population of Beit She’an appears to have been primarily Egyptian administrative officials and military personnel. The town was completely rebuilt, following a new layout, during the 19th dynasty. The University Museum excavations uncovered two important stelae from the period of Seti I
Seti I
Menmaatre Seti I was a Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt , the son of Ramesses I and Queen Sitre, and the father of Ramesses II...

 and a monument of Rameses II. Pottery was produced locally, but some was made to mimic Egyptian forms. Other Canaanite goods existed alongside Egyptian imports or locally-made Egyptian style objects. The 20th dynasty saw the construction of large administrative buildings in Beit She’an, including Building 1500, a small palace for the Egyptian governor.
During the 20th dynasty, invasions of the "Sea Peoples
Sea Peoples
The Sea Peoples were a confederacy of seafaring raiders of the second millennium BC who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean, caused political unrest, and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty and especially during year 8 of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty...

" upset Egypt’s control over the Eastern Mediterranean. Though the exact circumstances are unclear, the entire site of Beit She’an was destroyed by fire around 1150 BCE. The Egyptians did not attempt to rebuild their administrative center and lost control of the region.

Biblical period



An Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 I Canaanite city was constructed on the site of the Egyptian center shortly after its destruction. This period is not well understood due to the dearth of archaeological material, but it appears to be a purely Canaanite settlement devoid of Sea People/Philistine artifacts. However, textual evidence from 1 Samuel 31 states that the Philistines were present at the site and hung the body of King Saul
Saul
-People:Saul is a given/first name in English, the Anglicized form of the Hebrew name Shaul from the Hebrew Bible:* Saul , including people with this given namein the Bible:* Saul , a king of Edom...

 on the walls of Beit She’an. As there is no other Biblical reference to a Philistine presence there, the above incident might refer to an isolated military incursion rather than a permanent presence that far east — which would agree with the archaeological evidence.

During the Iron Age II period, the town became a part of the larger Israelite kingdom under the rule of the Biblical kings David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

 and Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

 (I King 4:12 refers to Beit She’an as a part of the district of Solomon, though the historical accuracy of this list is debated.
The Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n conquest of northern Israel under Tiglath-Pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III was a prominent king of Assyria in the eighth century BC and is widely regarded as the founder of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Tiglath-Pileser III seized the Assyrian throne during a civil war and killed the royal family...

 (732 BCE) brought about the destruction of Beit She’an by fire. Minimal reoccupation occurred until the Hellenistic period.

Roman period



The Hellenistic period saw the reoccupation of the site of Beit She’an under the new name Scythopolis, possibly named after the Scythian mercenaries who settled there as veterans. Little is known about the Hellenistic city, but during the 3rd century BCE a large temple was constructed on the Tell. It is unknown which deity was worshipped there, but the temple continued to be used during Roman times. The local Greek mythology holds that the city was founded by Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 and that his nursemaid Nysa
Nysa (mythology)
In Greek mythology, the mountainous district of Nysa, variously associated with Ethiopia, Libya, Tribalia, India or Arabia by Greek mythographers, was the traditional place where the rain nymphs, the Hyades, raised the infant god Dionysus, the "Zeus of Nysa"...

 was buried there; thus it was sometimes known as Nysa-Scythopolis. Graves dating from the Hellenistic period are simple singular rock-cut tombs. From 301 to 198 BCE the area was under the control of the Ptolemies, and Beit She'an is mentioned in 3rd-2nd centuries BC written sources describing the Syrian Wars between the Ptolemid and Seleucid dynasties. In 198 BCE the Seleucids conquered the region. The town played a role after the Hasmonean
Hasmonean
The Hasmonean dynasty , was the ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE, the dynasty ruled semi-autonomously from the Seleucids in the region of Judea...

 Maccabee Revolt: Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 records that the Jewish High Priest Jonathan was killed there by Demetrius II Nicator
Demetrius II Nicator
For the similarly named Macedonian ruler, see Demetrius II of Macedon. For the Macedonian prince, see Demetrius the Fair.Demetrius II , called Nicator , was one of the sons of Demetrius I Soter, brother of Antiochus VII Sidetes and his mother could have been Laodice V...

. The city was destroyed by fire at the end of the 2nd century BCE.

In 63 BC, Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 made Palestine a part of the Roman empire. Beit She’an was refounded and rebuilt by Gabinius
Gabinius
Gabinius was a Roman nomen of several historical figures, including:* Aulus Gabinius, consul 58 BC* Publius Gabinius Capito, supporter of Catiline* Publius Gabinius Secundus Chaucius , general under Claudius...

. The town center shifted from the summit of the Tel to its slopes. Scythopolis prospered and became the leading city of the Decapolis
Decapolis
The Decapolis was a group of ten cities on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire in Judea and Syria. The ten cities were not an official league or political unit, but they were grouped together because of their language, culture, location, and political status...

, a loose confederation of ten cities that were centers of Greco-Roman culture, an event so significant that the town based its calendar on that year. Pax Romana
Pax Romana
Pax Romana was the long period of relative peace and minimal expansion by military force experienced by the Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Since it was established by Caesar Augustus it is sometimes called Pax Augusta...

 favoured the city, evidenced by its high-level urban planning and extensive construction including the best preserved Roman theatre of ancient Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

 as well as a hippodrome
Hippodrome
A hippodrome was a Greek stadium for horse racing and chariot racing. The name is derived from the Greek words "hippos and "dromos"...

, cardo
Cardo
The cardo was a north-south oriented street in Roman cities, military camps, and coloniae. The cardo, an integral component of city planning, was lined with shops and vendors, and served as a hub of economic life. The main cardo was called cardo maximus.Most Roman cities also had a Decumanus...

, and other trademarks of the Roman influence. Mount Gilboa, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) away, provided dark basalt blocks as well as water via an aqueduct. The town is said to have sided with the Romans during the Jewish uprising of 66 CE. Excavations have focused less on the Roman period ruins, so less is known about this period. The University Museum excavation of the northern cemetery, however, did uncover significant finds. The Roman era tombs are of the loculus type: a rectangular rock-cut chamber with smaller chambers (loculi) cut into its side. Bodies were placed in the loculi or inside sarcophagi which were the placed in the loculi. A sarcophagus with an inscription identifying its occupant in Greek as “Antiochus, the son of Phallion” may have held the cousin of Herod the Great
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

. One of the most interesting Roman grave finds was a bronze incense shovel with the handle in the form of an animal leg and hoof, now in the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

Byzantine period


Copious archaeological remains were found dating to the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 period (330 CE – 636 CE) and were excavated by the University of Pennsylvania Museum from 1921-23. A rotunda church was constructed on top of the Tell and the entire city was enclosed in a wall. Textual sources mention several other churches in the town. Beit She'an was primarily Christian, as attested to by the large number of churches, but evidence of Jewish habitation and a Samaritan synagogue indicate established communities of these minorities. The pagan temple in the city centre was destroyed, but the nymphaeum
Nymphaeum
A nymphaeum or nymphaion , in ancient Greece and Rome, was a monument consecrated to the nymphs, especially those of springs....

 and Roman baths were restored. Many of the buildings of Scythopolis were damaged in the Galilee earthquake of 363, and in 409 it became the capital of the northern district, Palaestina Secunda. Dedicatory inscriptions indicate a preference for donations to religious buildings, and many colourful mosaics, such as that featuring the zodiac in the Monastery of Lady Mary, or the one picturing a menorah and shalom in the House of Leontius' Jewish synagogue, were preserved. A Samaritan synagogue's mosaic was unique in abstaining from human or animal images, instead utilising floral and geometrical motifs. Elaborate decorations were also found in the settlement's many luxurious villas, and in the 6th century especially, the city reached its maximum size of 40,000 and spread beyond its period city walls.

The Byzantine period portion of the northern cemetery was excavated in 1926. The tombs from this period consisted of small rock-cut halls with vaulted graves on three sides. A great variety of objects were found in the tombs, including terracotta figurines possibly depicting the Virgin and Child, many terracotta lamps, glass mirrors, bells, tools, knives, finger rings, iron keys, glass beads, bone hairpins, and many other items.

Umayyad period


In 634, Byzantine forces were defeated by the Muslim forces of Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab
Umar
`Umar ibn al-Khattāb c. 2 November , was a leading companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad who later became the second Muslim Caliph after Muhammad's death....

 and the city was renamed Baysan. The day of victory came to be known in Arabic as Yawm Baysan or "the day of Baysan." The city was not damaged and the newly arrived Muslims lived together with its Christian population until the 8th century, but the city declined during this period and its glorious Roman-Byzantine architecture was lost to neglect. Structures were built in the streets themselves, narrowing them to mere alleyways, and makeshift shops were opened among the colonnades. The city reached a low point by the 8th century, witnessed by the removal of marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 for producing lime
Calcium oxide
Calcium oxide , commonly known as quicklime or burnt lime, is a widely used chemical compound. It is a white, caustic, alkaline crystalline solid at room temperature....

, the blocking off of the main street, and the conversion of a main plaza into a cemetery.Al-Muqaddasi
Al-Muqaddasi
Muhammad ibn Ahmad Shams al-Din Al-Muqaddasi , also transliterated as Al-Maqdisi and el-Mukaddasi, was a medieval Arab geographer, author of Ahsan at-Taqasim fi Ma`rifat il-Aqalim .-Biography:Al-Muqaddasi, "the Hierosolomite" was born in Jerusalem in 946 AD...

 wrote that Baysan was "on the river, with plentiful palm trees, and water, though somewhat heavy (brackish)" and Abu Ubayd al-Andalusi noted that the wine produced there was delicious.

On January 18, 749, Umayyad Baysan was completely devastated by the Golan earthquake of 749. A few residential neighborhoods grew up on the ruins, probably established by the survivors, but the city never recovered its magnificence. The city center moved to the southern hill where a Crusader fortress surrounded by a moat was constructed.

Crusader period



In the Crusader period, the settlement was part of the Belvoir
Belvoir Fortress (Israel)
Belvoir Fortress is a Crusader fortress in northern Israel, on a hill south of the Sea of Galilee. Gilbert of Assailly, Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, began construction of the castle in 1168. The restored fortress is located in Belvoir National Park...

 fiefdom
Crusader states
The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th- and 13th-century feudal states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor, Greece and the Holy Land , and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area...

. A small fort was built east of the defunct amphitheater.

Mamluk period


Under Mamluk
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

 rule, Beit She'an was the principal town in the district of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and a relay station for the postal service between Damascus and Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

. It was also the capital of sugar cane processing for the region. Jisr al-Maqtu'a, a bridge consisting of a single arch spanning 25 feet and hung 50 feet above a stream, was built during that period.

Ottoman period


Beit She'an was long home to a Jewish community. The 14th century Jewish topographer Ishtori Haparchi settled there and completed his work Kaftor Vaferech in 1322, the first Hebrew book on the geography of Palestine.

During the 400 years of Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 rule, Baysan lost its regional importance. During the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II
His Imperial Majesty, The Sultan Abdülhamid II, Emperor of the Ottomans, Caliph of the Faithful was the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire...

 when the Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

-Damascus extension of the Hejaz railway was constructed, a limited revival took place. The local peasant population was largely impoverished by the Ottoman feudal land system which leased tracts of land to tenants and collected taxes from them for their use.

The Swiss-German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt
Johann Ludwig Burckhardt
Johann Ludwig Burckhardt was a Swiss traveller and orientalist. He wrote his letters in French and signed Louis...

 described Beisan in 1812 as "a village with 70 to 80 houses, whose residents are in a miserable state." In the early 1900s, though still a small and obscure village, Beisan was known for its plentiful water supply, fertile soil, and its production of olives, grapes, figs, almonds, apricots, and apples.

British Mandate


In 1934, Lawrence of Arabia noted that "Bisan is now a purely Arab village," where "very fine views of the river can be had from the housetops." He further noted that, "Many nomad and Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 encampments, distinguished by their black tents, were scattered about the riverine plain, their flocks and herds grazing round them." Beisan was home to a mainly Mizrahi Jew
Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews or Mizrahiyim, , also referred to as Adot HaMizrach are Jews descended from the Jewish communities of the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus...

ish community of 95 until 1936, when the 1936–1939 Arab revolt saw Beisan serve as a center of Arab attacks on Jews in Palestine. In 1938, after learning of the murder of his close friend and Jewish leader Haim Sturmann, Orde Wingate led his men on an offensive in the Arab section of Beit She'an, the rebels’ suspected base.
According to population surveys conducted in British Mandate Palestine, Beisan consisted of 5,080 Muslim Arabs out of a population of 5,540 (92% of the population), with the remainder being listed as Christians. In 1945, the surrounding "Beisan district" consisted of 16,660 Muslims (67%), 7,590 Jews (30%), and 680 Christians (3%), and Arabs owned 44% of land, Jews owned 34%, and 22% constituted public lands. The 1947 UN Partition Plan
1947 UN Partition Plan
The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was created by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947 to replace the British Mandate for Palestine with "Independent Arab and Jewish States" and a "Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem" administered by the United...

 allocated Beisan and most of its district to the proposed Jewish state
Jewish state
A homeland for the Jewish people was an idea that rose to the fore in the 19th century in the wake of growing anti-Semitism and Jewish assimilation. Jewish emancipation in Europe paved the way for two ideological solutions to the Jewish Question: cultural assimilation, as envisaged by Moses...

.

State of Israel


Jewish militias and local Bedouins first clashed during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

 in February and March 1948, part of Operation Gideon
Operation Gideon
Operation Gideon was a Haganah offensive launched in the closing days of the British Mandate in Palestine, as part of the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine. Its objectives were to capture Beisan , clear the surrounding villages and bedouin camps and block one of the possible entry routes...

, which Walid Khalidi
Walid Khalidi
Walid Khalidi is an Oxford University-educated Palestinian historian who has written extensively on the Palestinian exodus. He is General Secretary and co-founder of the Institute for Palestine Studies, established in Beirut in December 1963 as an independent research and publishing center...

 argues was part of a wider Plan Dalet
Plan Dalet
Plan Dalet, or Plan D, was a plan worked out by the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary group and the forerunner of the Israel Defense Forces, in Palestine in autumn 1947 to spring 1948. Its purpose is much debated...

. Joseph Weitz, a leading Yishuv
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

 figure, wrote in his diary on May 4, 1948 that, "The Beit Shean Valley is the gate for our state in the Galilee...[I]ts clearing is the need of the hour."

Beisan fell to the Jewish militias three days before the end of British Mandate Palestine. After Israel's Declaration of Independence in May 1948, during intense shelling by Syrian border units, the Arab inhabitants, followed by the recapture of the valley by the Haganah, fled across the Jordan River. The property and buildings abandoned after the conflict were then held by the state of Israel. Most Arab Christians relocated to Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

. A ma'abarah
Ma'abarot
The Ma'abarot were refugee absorption camps in Israel in the 1950s. The Ma'abarot were meant to provide accommodation for the large influx of Jewish refugees and new Olim arriving to the newly independent State of Israel, replacing the less habitable immigrant camps or tent cities...

 (refugee camp) inhabited mainly by North African immigrants was erected in Beit She'an, and it later became a development town
Development town
Development town is a term used to refer to the new settlements that were built in Israel during the 1950s in order to provide permanent housing to a large influx of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, Holocaust survivors from Europe and new immigrants , who arrived to the newly established State...

.

In 1999, Beit She'an was incorporated as a city. Geographically, it lies in the middle of the Beit She'an Valley Regional Council.

Beit She'an was the hometown and political power base of David Levy
David Levy (Israeli politician)
David Levy is an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset between 1969 and 2006, as well as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Minister of Housing & Construction and as a Minister without Portfolio...

, a prominent figure in Israeli politics.

Israeli-Arab conflict


In the 1974 Beit She'an attack
1974 Beit She'an attack
The 1974 Beit She'an attack, which took place during November 19, 1974, was a raid by a squad of Palestinian militants, belonging to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine militant organization, on the Israeli city of Beit She'an....

, militants of the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, took over an apartment building and murdered a family of four.

In the 2002 Beit She'an attack
2002 Beit She'an attack
The 2002 Beit She'an attack, which took place during November 28, 2002, was a terrorist attack carried out by members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the city of Beit She'an, Israel...

, six Israelis were killed and over 30 were injured by two Palestinian militants who opened fire and threw grenades at a polling station in the center of Bet She'an where party members were voting in the Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 primary.

Demographics


According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , abbreviated CBS, is an Israeli government office established in 1949 to carry out research and publish statistical data on all aspects of Israeli life, including population, society, economy, industry, education and physical infrastructure.It is headed by a...

 (CBS), the population of the municipality was 16,900 at the end of 2009. In 2005, the ethnic makeup of the city was 99.5% Jewish and other non-Arab (97.3% Jewish), with no significant Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 population. See Population groups in Israel. The population breakdown by gender was 8,200 males and 8,100 females.

The age distribution was as follows:
Age0 - 45 - 910 - 1415 - 1920 - 2930 - 4445 - 5960 - 6465 - 7475+
Percentage 9.9 9.4 9.4 9.4 17.6 17.7 16.7 2.7 4.4 2.8
Source: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , abbreviated CBS, is an Israeli government office established in 1949 to carry out research and publish statistical data on all aspects of Israeli life, including population, society, economy, industry, education and physical infrastructure.It is headed by a...



Economy



According to CBS, as of 2000, in the city there were 4,980 salaried workers and 301 are self-employed. The mean monthly wage in 2000 for a salaried worker in the city is ILS 4,200, a real change of 3.3% over the course of 2000. Salaried males have a mean monthly wage of ILS 5,314 (a real change of 5.1%) versus ILS 2,998 for females (a real change of -1.0%). The mean income for the self-employed is 6,106. There are 470 people who receive unemployment benefits and 1,409 people who receive an income guarantee.

Beit She'an is a center of cotton-growing, and many of residents are employed in the cotton fields of the surrounding kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

im. Other local industries include a textile mill and clothing factory.

Education


According to CBS, there are 16 schools and 3,809 students in the city. They are spread out as 10 elementary schools and 2,008 elementary school students, and 10 high schools and 1,801 high school students. 56.2% of 12th grade students were entitled to a matriculation certificate in 2001.

Transportation


Historically, Beit She'an was a railway station in the Jezreel Valley railway
Jezreel Valley railway
The Jezreel Valley railway, or simply the Valley railway refers to a historical railroad in Ottoman and British Palestine, which was part of the larger Hejaz railway and ran along the Jezreel Valley....

, an extension of the Hejaz railway. Currently, no railway is in use in the city, although a planned expansion by Israel Railways
Israel Railways
Israel Railways is the principal passenger railway operating company in Israel, and is responsible for all inter-city and suburban rail way passenger and freight traffic in the country. All its lines are standard gauge. The network is centered in Israel's densely populated coastal plain, from...

 seeks to change this by Q1 2011. The main means of transport in Beit She'an is the bus, and the city is served by the Egged
Egged Bus Cooperative
Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society Ltd , a cooperative owned by its members is the largest transit bus company in Israel. It provides about 55 % of public transport services throughout the country, employs 6,227 workers and has 2,861 buses for more than 928 service routes and 3,103...

 (long-distance, bus 961) and Kavim
Kavim
Kavim is an Israeli bus company. It was founded in 2000 and provided lines in the eastern Gush Dan region - the towns/cities Kiryat Ono, Petah Tikva, Or Yehuda, Giv'atayim and others. In February 2005, Kavim expanded to the north, where it started providing bus lines in Afula, Bet She'an and the...

 (local) bus companies.

Archaeology


The University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

 carried out excavations of ancient Beit She'an in 1921–1933. Relics from the Egyptian period were discovered, most of them in the Rockefeller Museum
Rockefeller Museum
The Rockefeller Museum, formerly the Palestine Archaeological Museum, is an archaeological museum located in East Jerusalem that houses a large collection of artifacts unearthed in the excavations conducted in Ottoman Palestine beginning in the late 19th century.The museum is under the management...

 in Jerusalem. Some are in the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia. Excavations at the site were resumed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; ; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, after the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J...

 in 1983 and then again from 1989 to 1996 under the direction of A. Mazar. The excavations have revealed no less than 18 successive ancient towns. Ancient Beit She'an is one of the most impressive Roman and Byzantine sites in Israel, and it attracts approximately 300,000 tourists annually.

Sports


The local football club, Hapoel Beit She'an
Hapoel Beit She'an F.C.
Hapoel Beit She'an was an Israeli football club based in Beit She'an. The club spent several seasons in the top division in the 1990s, but after several relegations, folded in 2006.-History:...

 spent several seasons in the top division in the 1990s, but folded in 2006 after several relegations. Maccabi Beit She'an currently play in Liga Bet
Liga Bet
-History:League football started in Israel in 1949–50, a year after independence. However, the financial and security crises gripping the young nation caused the 1950–51 season to be abandoned before it had started. When football resumed in 1951–52, the new top division went by the name of Liga...

.

Landmarks


The town lies within an area known as the Valley of Springs Regional Council where several springs provide leisure opportunities http://www.gogalilee.org/tamar.asp.

Twin towns — Sister cities


Beit She'an is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with: Cleveland, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 (Since 1995)

University of Pennsylvania Excavations

  • Braun, Eliot [2004], Early Beth Shan (Strata XIX-XIII) - G.M. FitzGerald's Deep Cut on the Tell, [University Museum Monograph 121], Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 2004. ISBN 1931707626
  • Fisher, Clarence [1923], Beth-Shan Excavations of the University Museum Expedition, 1921–1923", Museum Journal 14 (1923), pp. 229–231.
  • FitzGerald, G.M. [1931], Beth-shan Excavations 1921-23: the Arab and Byzantine Levels, Beth-shan III, University Museum: Philadelphia, 1931.

[1932], "Excavations at Beth-Shan in 1931", PEFQS 63 (1932), pp. 142–145.
  • Rowe, Alan [1930], The Topography and History of Beth-Shan, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1930.

[1940], The Four Canaanite Temples of Beth-shan, Beth-shan II:1, University Museum: Philadelphia, 1940.
  • James, Frances W. & McGovern, Patrick E. [1993], The Late Bronze Egyptian Garrison at Beth Shan: a Study of Levels VII and VIII, 2 volumes, [University Museum Monograph 85], Philadelphia: University Museum, University of Pennsylvania & University of Mississippi, 1993. ISBN 0924171278

[edit]

Hebrew University Jerusalem Excavations

  • Mazar, Amihai [2006], Excavations at Tel Beth Shean 1989-1996, Volume I: From the Late Bronze Age IIB to the Medieval Period, Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society / Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2006.
  • Mazar, A. and Mullins, Robert (eds) [2007], Excavations at Tel Beth Shean 1989-1996, Volume II: The Middle and Late Bronze Age Strata in Area R, Jerusalem: IES / HUJ, 2007.

[edit]

General

  • Finkelstein, Israel [1996], "The Stratigraphy and Chronology of Megiddo and Beth-Shan in the 12th-11th Centuries BCE", TA 23 (1996), pp. 170–184.
  • Garfinkel, Yosef [1987], "The Early Iron Age Stratigraphy of Beth Shean Reconsidered", IEJ 37 (1987), pp. 224–228.
  • Geva, Shulamit [1979], "A Reassessment of the Chronology of Beth Shean Strata V and IV", IEJ 29 (1979), pp. 6–10.
  • Greenberg, Raphael [2003], "Early Bronze Age Megiddo and Beth Shean: Discontinuous Settlement in Sociopolitical Context", JMA 16.1 (2003), pp. 17–32.
  • Hankey, V. [1966], "Late Mycenaean Pottery at Beth-Shan", AJA 70 (1966), pp. 169–171.
  • Higginbotham, C. [1999], "The Statue of Ramses III from Beth Shean", TA 26 (1999), pp. 225–232.
  • Horowitz, Wayne [1994], "Trouble in Canaan: A Letter of the el-Amarna Period on a Clay Cylinder from Beth Shean", Qadmoniot 27 (1994), pp. 84–86 (Hebrew).
  • [1996], "An Inscribed Clay Cylinder from Amarna Age Beth Shean", IEJ 46 (1996), pp. 208–218.
  • McGovern, Patrick E. [1987], “Silicate Industries of Late Bronze-Early Iron Age Palestine: Technological Interaction between New Kingdom Egypt and the Levant”, in Bimson, M. & Freestone, LC. (eds), Early Vitreous Materials, [British Museum Occasional Papers 56], London: British Museum Press, 1987, pp. 91–114.
  • [1989], “Cross-Cultural Craft Interaction: the Late Bronze Egyptian Garrison at Beth Shan”, in McGovern, P.E. (ed,), Cross-Craft and Cultural Interactions in Ceramics, [Ceramics and Civilisation 4, ed. Kingery, W.D.], Westerville: American Ceramic Society, 1989, pp. 147–194.
  • [1990], “The Ultimate Attire: Jewelry from a Canaanite Temple at Beth Shan”, Expedition 32 (1990), pp. 16–23.
  • [1994], “Were the Sea Peoples at Beth Shan?”, in Lemche, N.P. & Müller, M. (eds), Fra dybet: Festskrift til John Strange, [Forum for Bibelsk Eksegese 5], Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanus and University of Copenhagen, 1994, pp. 144–156.
  • McGovern, P.E., Fleming, S.J. & Swann, C.P. [1993], “The Late Bronze Egyptian Garrison at Beth Shan: Glass and Faience Production and Importation in the Late New Kingdom”, BASOR 290-91 (1993), pp. 1–27.
  • Mazar, A., Ziv-Esudri, Adi and Cohen-Weinberger, Anet [2000], "The Early Bronze Age II-III at Tel Beth Shean: Preliminary Observations", in Philip, G. and Baird, D. (eds), Ceramics and Change in the Early Bronze Age of the Southern Levant, [Levantine Archaeology 2], Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000, pp. 255–278.
  • Mazar, Amihai [1990], “The Excavations at Tel Beth-Shean”, Eretz-Israel 21 (1990), pp. 197–211 (יברית).

[1992], “Temples of the Middle and Late Bronze Ages and the Iron Age”, in Kempinski, A. and Reich, R. (eds), The Architecture of Ancient Israel from the Prehistoric to the Persian Periods — in Memory of Immanual (Munya) Dunayevsky, Jerusalem: IES, 1992, pp. 161–187.
  • [1993a], “The Excavations at Tel Beth-Shean in 1989-1990”, in Biran, A. and Aviram, J. (eds), Biblical Archaeology Today, 1990 - Proceedings of the Second International Congress on Biblical Archaeology, Jerusalem, 1990, Jerusalem: IES, 1993, pp. 606–619.
  • 1993b, “Beth Shean in the Iron Age: Preliminary Report and Conclusions of the 1990 - 1991 Excavations”, IEJ 43.4 (1993), pp. 201–229.
  • [1994], “Four Thousand Years of History at Tel Beth-Shean”, Qadmoniot 27.3-4 (1994), pp. 66–83 (יברית).
  • [1997a], “Four Thousand Years of History at Tel Beth-Shean — An Account of the Renewed Excavations”, BA 60.2 (1997), pp. 62–76.
  • [1997b], “The Excavations at Tel Beth Shean during the Years 1989-94”, in Silberman, N.A. and Small, D. (eds), The Archaeology of Israel – Constructing the Past, Interpreting the Present, [JSOT Supplement Series 237], Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997, pp. 144–164.
  • [2003], "Beth Shean in the Second Millennium BCE: From Canaanite Town to Egyptian Stronghold", in Bietak, M. (ed.), The Synchronisation of Civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the SEcond Millennium BC, II. Proceedings of the SCIEM 2000-EuroConference Haindorf, 2 May—7 May 2001, Vienna, 2003, pp. 323–339.
  • [2006], “Tel Beth-Shean and the Fate of Mounds in the Intermediate Bronze Age”, in Gitin, S., Wright, J.E. and Dessel, J.P. (eds), Confronting the Past—Archaeological and Historical Essays on Ancient Israel in Honor of William G. Dever, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2006, pp. 105–118. ISBN 1575061171
  • Mullins, Robert A. [2006], “A Corpus of Eighteenth Dynasty Egyptian-Style Pottery from Tel Beth-Shean”, in Maeir, A.M. and Miroschedji, P. de (eds), “I Will Speak the Riddle of Ancient Times”—Archaeological and Historical Studies in Honor of Amihai Mazar on the Occasion of His Sixtieth Birthday, Volume 1, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2006, pp. 247–262. ISBN 1575061031
  • Oren, Eliezer D. [1973], The Northern Cemetery of Beth-Shean, [Museum Monograph of the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania], E.J. Brill: Leiden, 1973.
  • Porter, R.M. [1994-1995], "Dating the Beth Shean Temple Sequence", Journal of the Ancient Chronology Forum 7 (1994–95), pp. 52–69.

[1998], "An Egyptian Temple at Tel Beth Shean and Ramesses IV", in Eyre, C. (ed.), Seventh International Congress of Egyptologists, Cambridge, 3–9 September 1995, [Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 82], Uitgeverij Peeters: Leuven, 1998, pp. 903–910.
  • Sweeney, Deborah [1998], "The Man on the Folding Chair: An Egyptian Relief from Beth Shean", IEJ 48 (1998), pp. 38–53.
  • Thompson, T.O. [1970], Mekal, the God of Beth Shean, E.J. Brill: Leiden, 1970.

External links


  • Map of Scythopolis Foreign Ministry of Israel
    Foreign relations of Israel
    The foreign relations of Israel refers to diplomatic relations and international agreements between the State of Israel and other countries around the world. Israel joined the United Nations on May 11, 1949. Israel has diplomatic relations with 157 states...

  • Beit Shean Travel Guide